Now Reporting...Redhawk Rob

Behind the Camera with rising star student

Written by Annie Beckmann
Photography by Doug Ogle
July 9, 2014
If you haven’t yet met up with Redhawk Rob, give him a Google.

You’re about to discover one of Seattle University’s most interesting characters, a campus comic whose offbeat videos continue to attract new devotees, from prospective students to members of the executive leadership.

James Cashman, '15, is the man behind Redhawk Rob and the Robert Report. It was the winter of Cashman’s freshman year and he wanted an outlet to express his high-spirited and genuine enthusiasm for his decision to come to SU.

Cashman’s knack for improvisation dates back to his high school days at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, Calif. Even then, he saw improvisational comedy as his creative wonderland.  

Thanks to his roommate Jacob Swanson, ’15, Cashman saw a quirky Old Milwaukee beer commercial featuring film star and comedian Will Ferrell that inspired him to make videos about his SU experience.

Cashman’s earliest campus videos—before he adopted the Redhawk Rob persona—were acronyms full of his exuberant earnestness. He spelled out Seattle University and came up with a positive word for each letter as he went along.

Three years ago, he had a part-time job in the Admissions Office as a Student Telephone Admissions Representative (STAR), a foreshadowing for what was to come.

It wasn’t long before Cashman, who switched his major from creative writing to film studies, became part of a media production team. Undergraduate Admissions Counselor Zach Gerdes, ’11, oversees the operation and Lars Andersen, ’14, another film studies major, is cameraman.

“After a colleague showed me some of his film work,” says Gerdes, “I knew we had to embrace his potential as a budding filmmaker and comic genius.”

It takes about a week for a rough cut and typically three weeks from filming to final cut for a new Robert Report episode.

Among other topics, the videos have tackled food on campus (with a cameo from SU Executive Vice President Tim Leary), Division I and the Eisiminger Fitness Center, Quadstock, Public Safety and Segways, the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons and the Center for Service and Community Engagement. Cashman and his crew set up a cash cage (like the TV quiz show “Cash Cab”) in a residence hall elevator for another. They did a spoof on a Brad Pitt cologne ad for yet another.

“The college admissions field is saturated with cheesy videos,” Gerdes says. “‘Redhawk Rob’ embraces the cheesy with a refreshing, zesty flare of irony and humor; and James Cashman is nothing if not refreshing and zesty. We are lucky to have him.”

So what does the future hold for Redhawk Rob?

“I’ve had incredible opportunities at this school, in Admissions, with Redhawk Rob and all over this campus,” says Cashman. “I’d like to become a filmmaker, but I realize it doesn’t come with a snap of the fingers. I’d love to work for ‘Second City’ in Chicago.”

Check out the latest Robert Report here.
Redhawk Rob Lars Andersen, '14 (left) goes over video footage from a recent shoot with James Cashman, aka Redhawk Rob.